Switching time zones can be hard on your body. The more drastic the time change, the more severe your jet lag can be. Jet lag causes you to feel sluggish and can impair your ability to function. This can make it hard to enjoy your surroundings on vacation, or make decisions if you’re on a business trip.
To help keep your body on track, here are 10 jet lag prevention tips.
Avoiding jet lag: At a glance
1. Adjust your sleeping habits
About a week before you leave, slowly shift your bedtime to match that of the destination.
2. Be prepared
Before you leave, get a solid night’s sleep. If you prepare early for your trip, you’ll avoid making the sort of mental to-do lists in bed that can keep you awake.
3. Avoid caffeine
An ill-timed caffeine jolt can make jet lag worse. It can force your body to wake up often and shorten the time you sleep. Avoid caffeine before and during your flight.
4. Get exercise
In the airport, walk around before boarding the flight. Once on the plane, do in-seat stretches and get up occasionally to keep your circulation moving.
5. Stay hydrated
Opt for water on the flight rather than a coffee, soda or a cocktail. Staying hydrated keeps your body refreshed and can help prevent jet lag.
6. Opt for a window seat
A window seat gives you the best chance to rest on the plane since you have something to rest on. Take an inflatable travel pillow and try to sleep, especially during night flights.
7. Turn off your electronics
To sleep on the plane, it’s best to turn off electronics an hour before you plan to sleep. Screen time stimulates your mind, which can make it harder to fall asleep.
8. Get outside
When you arrive, spend time outside. Being in natural sunlight helps your body reset its natural clock. If you arrive at night, go to bed even if you feel awake, and try to get some sunshine the next morning.
9. Avoid naps
It’s tempting to lie down and take a nap when you’re exhausted, but it’s best to stay awake until a normal bedtime so your body can adjust to the local time.
10. Ease into your routine
Taking steps to prevent jet lag will help, but your body will still need time to adjust. Don’t schedule big activities or meetings for immediately after you arrive.